Rock & Roll Circus Promoters Respond to Allegations of a 'Riot'

Producers say event at NYC's Lincoln Center was violent, but didn't get out of hand

January 5, 2011 7:00 PM ET
A concert goer takes part of Japanther's drum kit during the Rock 'N Roll Circus at Lincoln Center, New York City, January 3, 2011.
A concert goer takes part of Japanther's drum kit during the Rock 'N Roll Circus at Lincoln Center, New York City, January 3, 2011.
J.B Nicholas / Splash News

The producers of a punk rock show at New York's  Lincoln Center — inspired by Mick Jagger's 1968 Rock & Roll Circus — insist that a violent incident at the show Monday night was not a riot, as reported by several media outlets and blogs.

The Rock & Roll Circus, a two-night festival at Lincoln Center featuring the Big Apple Circus and performances by artists such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner and Ariel Pink, was derailed on its opening night when security cracked down on rowdy fans during a set by the punk band Japanther.

But show co-producer Adarsha Benjamin told Rolling Stone that the festival – "an experiment in curating," as she put it – got out of hand, but not in a way that's unusual for a rock show.

"A mosh pit started. It's a Japanther show. They're kids, they get crazy," she said. "The security didn't deal with it, and they got really aggressive. They called it a riot, but it really wasn't a riot, it was a mosh pit. It was punk rock and people don't know how to handle it."

Rolling Stone's Best of 2010: Music, Movies, Videos, Photos and More

Justine Gaver, another one of the show's producers, explained that security were mostly concerned about audience members entering the circus ring. "The ring is built on sand and gravel, and the Big Apple Circus security crew were concerned about its stability," she said.

Photos: Random Notes

Jessica Resler, also a co-producer, credited the security at Lincoln Center for putting the situation under control quickly but told Rolling Stone "the security there had not been put in that situation before and were not prepared for fans looking to fight. A few out-of-control people ruined it for everyone."

Nonetheless, Resler says she and her fellow producers feel that the event was a success, and are in talks with the Big Apple Circus to put on another similar event in the near future.

"We're psyched about it," Resler said. "We have no bad feelings towards anyone at Lincoln Center, or the fans."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

More Song Stories entries »